Engelberg Center Innovation Policy Colloquium

Jane Anderson on Traditional Knowledge Labels

Episode Summary

Professor Jane Anderson of New York University discussed how indigenous and traditional knowledge interacts with intellectual property law. We focus on the Traditional Knowledge Labels project, designed to help people better understand the use and provenance of traditional knowledge.

Episode Notes

Professor Jane Anderson of New York University discussed how indigenous and traditional knowledge interacts with intellectual property law.  Professor Anderson co-created the Local Contexts project, home to the Traditional Knowledge labels, which we discuss in today’s episode.  The Traditional Knowledge labels are designed to help people understand the full context of indigenous and traditional knowledge that is held in archives and museums.You can find out more about the Traditional Knowledge project here: http://localcontexts.org/tk-labels/

Episode Transcription

Michael Weinberg [00:00:04] Today, we're talking with Professor Jane Anderson about her work on how indigenous and traditional knowledge interacts with intellectual property law. Professor Anderson is an associate professor of anthropology and museum studies here at New York University. Professor Anderson co-created the Local Context Project, home of the traditional knowledge labels that we'll discuss.  The traditional knowledge labels are designed to help people understand the full context of indigenous and traditional knowledge that is held in archives and museums. I hope you enjoy it. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:00:38] You talk a little bit about how you think about the relationship between Western IP law and traditional cultural knowledge and heritage and how those things, when you think about them, aren't necessarily in alignment. 

 

Jane Anderson [00:00:52] Yeah, I definitely think about the ways in which Euro American copyright law and its kind of philosophical foundations and underpinnings as a really interesting and unique body of law, I mean, of course intellectual property being the umbrella term and all these other areas underneath it, and they're very different in terms of how they think about indigenous knowledge too. And just prolly should say say that. So what I'll focus on largely is kind of this question of authorship and ownership that comes out of a copyright regime. Though for indigenous people, these are not separable things when you talk about indigenous knowledge, of course. So if you kind of think about the ways in which ideas of copyright developed, some of the kind of foundational core components are the making of an author and the development of originality in a work. And when you think about indigenous cultural heritage or the way in which the law has treated indigenous cultural heritage and not only the law, but the range of kind of social economic entitlements that come from those those legal phrasings, you see how indigenous people have been categorized as not modern political subjects. 

 

Jane Anderson [00:02:20] So they are unable of unable to hold property in that sense. And so for me, it's interesting to think through how indigenous people themselves have been categorized as particular kinds of legal subjects, warranting or even mandating surveillance by the state and becoming wards of the state and not being able to be citizens, not being able to hold property and in those kinds of constructions of legal subjectivity. So, too, comes how their knowledge systems are treated as well. And so, you know, kind of running hand by hand is this idea of real property law functioning as a tool to dispossess indigenous peoples very foundationally of the land under which we currently reside. And if we think about what those bases of property are and the racialized categories that are embedded within that concept of property, you have to also start looking at those questions in relationship to intellectual property or into copyright itself. So for until these kinds of cases in the 1970s in Australia, for instance, indigenous artists were not considered artists, they were considered reproduces of traditional truths. There was no authorship and therefore there was no real work that needed to be protected. And so this kind of problem of the indigenous legal subjectivity, the position that indigenous people held within the law itself has directly affected how other areas of law like copyright respond to indigenous art, like the products of indigenous knowledge. And so that's kind of very interesting to think about the making of modern legal political subjects and their right to hold property and the way in which indigenous people have been constructed as less than and not holding those same particular kinds of knowledge regimes or frameworks are not producing art in the same way that's recognisable as kind of Western or European ideas of art. And then what that does when indigenous material starts entering into places that need to be protected. So I want to just add to that in one extra way. We look in settler colonial contexts. Indigenous people are deeply present in both place and in the ways in which the nation constructs an image of itself. So in Australia, for instance, indigenous artworks or indigenous styles and forms and color palettes became really central to the construction of the India of the Australian national identity. It was very important to kind of differentiate itself from from the Europe, from the European one. But in that sense, there was a large scale encouragement to copy indigenous styles or forms, but to not ever acknowledge whose forms they were, to presume that they weren't authors resume, that it was timeless and could be copied to presume it was a commons, and for indigenous it was not a commons at all. It actually is intricate, really related to not complex knowledge systems. And so there is a certain kind of writing out of that different way of understanding the world and different the way of understanding art and artistic practice. So for me, there is a kind of a little bit of a collision that occurs in relationship to indigenous knowledge and copyright in particular. And I think what we've seen from the 1970s onwards is copyright law, trying to make amends, trying to catch up, trying to bring indigenous people into the framework of the law. And in doing that, making a very specific indigenous category under which indigenous people and indigenous knowledge can be protected. And of course, in making that category, it shears off the larger complexity of indigenous culture in order for that property to be made. And so that's, again, very interesting thing about how this this kind of concept of indigenous knowledge is made into something recognisable, legible, so that there can be some kind of response from the law. And I think that's a really interesting part of the challenge we were dealing with. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:06:31] In the context of copyright, especially U.S. copyright law, it almost feels like there are two categories of works that you're describing, right? There is, there are traditional works that have thinking about them in the context of when they were created, however you want to define - we, no, define that as an actual instantiated in the world. And so you've got works of traditional knowledge, traditional heritage that let's assume for the purposes of categorization were created a significant time in the past, for a time that U.S. copyright law would think of as public domain time. And then you have new works that are created by either people within those societies or outside of those societies that are building on top of those traditional motifs, knowledge, expressions, however you want to describe it. And when I think about it that way, that doesn't feel like a structure that necessarily taxes existing law. Right. You've got a collective set of a body of knowledge and works. And those are generally available for anyone to build on top of. And then you have new expression that incorporates that. And to the extent there's new expression there or new organization or however you want to think about it, that additional expression, creativity, authorship, that's protected as a new work. How does that fail to capture what you do, what your driving concern is, what you're thinking about? 

 

Jane Anderson [00:08:02] So I think we would go back to that kind of primary space where there is a sense of that kind of public domain, that traditional knowledge base that's being drawn upon, that for indigenous values is not to be drawn upon by just everybody has very specific rules and protocols around who can draw upon it and for what purposes and when. And so that already is a distinction in relationship to the responsibilities and obligations of particular members of the community to draw on certain kinds of parts of that knowledge base in order to build into that second stage of a new work or something like that. And so they're at that very basic point. I think that there is a foundational difference and maybe a failure to recognize that indigenous knowledge isn't coming from a commons in the same way that we like to think that all knowledge is free and it's kind of functions of a certain kind of base. Then you can kind of build out of into an individual proprietary framing rather than that. From an indigenous standpoint, that primary knowledge base is already full of responsibilities and obligations and relationships that really affect who can be drawing upon that and for what purposes and certainly for what purposes, including economic purposes. And so for me, that's kind of like one of the foundational pieces that kind of has to be brought into the conversation that we're not all knowledge is considered to be a commons. Right. That is a very culturally specific standpoint. And so I've been kind of crack that a little bit to kind of see it as a culturally specific standpoint. We might actually also be opening for understanding spaces that aren't considered to be commons in that way. And if we haven't considered them in that way, what then do we need to be starting to think about? Because it changes how we even cognitively understand what knowledge is and where it comes from and who has the right to use it under what circumstances. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:10:11] And it's interesting when you think about that, I think about enforceability of those lines and whether the that enforcement should be done through legal mechanisms or through other mechanisms. I think that's where the proposal that you talk about in this paper is really interesting. It almost feels like it was it's like an unexpected twist, actually, as I was reading the paper, because the paper lays out a bunch of concerns like the ones we've talked about already. And then as a solution, the solution that is proposed is not: "and therefore, there should be some sort of additional legal protection or some other kind of layer of protection that's based in law." Instead, you kind of take a different direction. You say, well, no, these things are important. They're culturally important. And it's an almost instead of having the conversation about the legal protection, you talk about labeling. You talk about sharing information and making sure that people are aware of history. And to the extent that they are good actors, they are able to comply with the wishes of history, those indigenous populations. If I'm capturing that correctly, can you talk a little bit about how that labeling works and how you got to that place? 

 

Jane Anderson [00:11:28] Yeah. So. One thing that I have definitely, you know, after 18 years work in this area is to be a little bit skeptical of new legal frameworks. The development of new laws always has unintended consequences. And I think, you know, in this in this area where there is a lot of call for the development of such generous legislation, for instance, there are numerous instances of such generous legislation that actually don't lead to the support of indigenous communities for various reasons, partly because the problem has been constructed without indigenous input, partly because it's very hard to assimilate cultural difference through the kind of categorical legal terms. And then then you kind of get certain other problems that manifest that are kind of more at a philosophical nature, like how can you ask a body of law to rebuild, rehabilitate itself in a way that can actually accommodate the differences that it's actively sought to eradicate? So that for me at a philosophical level is a foundational question about laws own capacity to address the historical violences that it's been part of. So that's why we really didn't aim for a legislative initiative. It yeah, I don't really know what else to say about that, except, I mean, I think it's important that we did go more for trying to tackle this problem through an educational initiative. And maybe 10 years ago I would have fought more in relationship to the legislative piece after, you know, being party to the negotiations in the World Intellectual Property Organization to see what those negotiations look like, to see the very few indigenous participants in those negotiations around questions that are directly going to affect their livelihoods and their lives. And for me, that's kind of a neocolonial moment that was playing out in the international sphere. So we definitely decided to take a different pathway and also strategically needed to do so because indigenous communities don't consider their knowledge through property frameworks. So, again, it had to be something that was differently construed not through a paradigm of ownership, but through a paradigm of responsibility and obligation and authority. And they take the questions to really different places. So when we developed the local context initially initiative, we had two pieces of that. First of all, it was a large educational component. So how could indigenous communities get access to information about copyright, information about intellectual property law in order to make different kinds of decisions about when and how to use that body of law? In many instances, copyright is not going to be a panacea that can solve many of these problems. These problems are produced by history. They are produced by politics. They are produced by colonialism. So there is no quick fix. But still, communities need access to these resources in order to make these decisions. And it's something that they largely have not had access to. And then we started to kind of think initially about licenses. We were very inspired by the Creative Commons intervention in particular, because that intervention is task targets kind of metadata in a certain way. But we had to pull back from that development around the licenses, partly because the material that we were dealing with them were largely dealing with material that's in archives, libraries and museums. That has been the documentation of indigenous knowledge and indigenous people that has occurred over these kind of long histories of colonialism within settler colonial states. And, you know, the the archives are full of this material, you know. I think even Harvard Peabody has over one million items and it's just enormous. So when you kind of start scratching the surface of it. But indigenous communities who are seeking to have this mirror material returned have no legal control over that material. It's either in the public domain, which means that communities have no control over who can use it and for what purposes, or it's controlled by the researcher or the missionary or the schoolteacher or whoever was working in the community the time. And and they hold the ownership over that material, which became very difficult for communities who were seeking to have this material repatriated and then to use it in their own cultural ways, whatever they would be. They were constantly having to get permission from the copyright holder for the use of their family's photographs, for the use of their cultural heritage. And in that sense, a deep inequity becomes very, very visible. So with. So we had to kind of back away from the licensing piece, partly because of the deep colonial methodologies that we utilize in this project was which largely are if you're going to develop something that doesn't actually work with the needs that you're hearing expressed in relationship to a problem, you need to change the terms of what that solution is, because just developing licenses would almost do nothing for the extent of the problem. So we kind of came up with the idea of this labeling scheme and this labeling scheme being one that is largely trying to educate non-indigenous people about the complexity of the rights and responsibilities that indigenous people feel in relationship to their knowledge system and remain practised today. And so we have and in that sense, these labels have really become. There's 18 of them now have become a complex ecosystem of indigenous knowledge protocols and kind of they function to help identify the nuanced ways in which knowledge should be shared from an indigenous standpoint. And all of these labels have been developed in collaboration with indigenous communities in Canada and North Canada and the United States and Australia. And so they really kind of getting to more precise understanding of what does it mean to share this knowledge and on whose terms and and if we were to actually listen to what indigenous people say about the sharing of this knowledge, how would that change our understanding of what we're listening to? So we kind of feel that people would. Would most people do want to do the right thing. They just lack the education and the understanding. And if we can use these tools like the labels to help shift just a little bit, we might see changes in how this material gets used in ways that are not egregious affronts to indigenous communities. And also the labels ask for direct community. Patient and collaboration in that sense potentially radically changed the relationships and the use of this material in productive, positive ways. And because the labels they they really are trying to change how we understand this material and therefore also its conditions of circulation. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:19:12] And before we go deeper into the purpose and the intended effect, I want to stop and step back for a moment and talk about the practicalities of what the labels are and what you do. It's a label, so if you're imagining this right now it's sort of a Creative Commons logo in the sense that it's it's a simple set of visuals that people can identify. Where do the visuals come from and what kind, I don't go through all 18, but what kinds of information do they convey? And then where are they shown? What? How do they actually how would I interact with it if I was a researcher? If I was an archivist? If I was just a visitor to something? If I was a member of a native community, how would I see that? 

 

Jane Anderson [00:19:55] Yeah,

 

Michael Weinberg [00:19:55] If we're talking about kind of the impacts and the structure. 

 

Jane Anderson [00:19:57] Yeah. So if you would just go through three labels, we can talk about the attribution label, we can talk about the secret sacred label and we can talk about the seasonal label. And they do function very similarly to Creative Commons. There's a human readable component of it and then there's a machine readable component of it which allows them to enter into the rights fields and kind of content management systems at a kind of a metadata level. But the attribution label, there are two parts to the label. There is an icon that is, you know, quite visually striking for the attribution label. It's two arrows pointing in different directions. And the attribution label is one of the first labels we developed, partly because it's trying to address the erasure and exclusion of indigenous names within the record, either community names or individual names. They're largely not the names that have been remembered. They're not the names that have been written into the archives. And for communities, names really matter for everybody. Names really matter. And it was a very important label that kind of functions as an indicator of presence and being and connection to land and to place, but also as a as an invocation of how to do it properly. How to do how to actually cite indigenous material properly according to indigenous rules. And so what's interesting about the labels is we have the stable icon, much like Creative Commons. You don't really you can't really change that. But what changes is the articulation in the text? And for every community, every indigenous community that we work with adapts the label, text themselves. And so each label, whilst the icon remains the same, the text will differ. And so what that means is that you're getting an assertion of indigenous sovereignty through these labels. Every community has the right to define what attribution means to them on their own terms. And that's the same for all 18 labels. Most communities don't use 18 labels. They. It's a suite of labels and they're able to choose how many they want. Some communities choose three. Some communities choose a it's just kind of what those labels are speaking to in terms of what the content is that they're trying to deal with. So we also have the secret sacred label, which is another really important label that we developed. Was kind of again, one of the first ones that we developed this problem of lack of attribution and the fact that the archives, libraries and museums hold a lot of material that indigenous communities consider to be sacred and requires special kinds of treatment and shouldn't be available for everybody to use has been. It was something that we needed to kind of address immediately. And that sacred label is basically a box that looks like a box. It's kind of a box. That's something that a safekeeping place. And again, everybody writes that label differently for some communities. Images of human remains or ancestors are incredibly sacred. They should never have been dug up in the first place. And they most certainly shouldn't be shown on websites and circulated. So communities use that label as a means to kind of covering. And there are other instances where communities use that label to say you've been allowed to come this far in our knowledge system, but we have other rules and regulations around more complex forms of knowledge that we just need to use this label to mark and to kind of indicate that there is more sophisticated rules here and that you don't have the right permission to go any further. So it's a really interesting label. Terms of kind of signaling that, yeah, there there are restrictions and there are a couple of cultural reasons in relationship to when that label is being used. So the other label is a seasonal label and this is a really beautiful label. It kind of indicates a changing season is the icon. And we really developed that one partly because for so many communities, the their ceremonies, their songs. I usually heard it at a particular time of the year. The ceremonies of certain songs aren't played all the time. And this label really brings a temporal or a time component into certain kinds of knowledge or certain kinds of recordings that are available and circulate, but also brings place back into the situation. Seasonal label is related to place and to land and in a really nice way we're able to indicate that indigenous knowledge is tied to indigenous lands and that label really makes that connection visible. And so how that would be used in the seasonal label is it again is a good one. So there are a lot of recordings, for example, at the at the Smithsonian of ceremonies from particular communities, Zuni or Hopi, for instance. And this label helps to indicate that some of those songs should only be heard when the first snow has happened on the land or that the time is ready for harvesting sweet grass. So it really locks in this kind of a dimple. Deb, different kind of temporal message in terms of what you're hearing. And we really think that that changes what you hear. You're not you're suddenly hearing something really differently contextualized, but you'll be it's being contextualized from a community. It's the missing information. It's the information that was never recorded at the time. Somebody was recording the ceremony. They didn't know it, that this is only supposed to be here, heard in June at this time, you know. So getting it that specificity, which actually really matters for indigenous communities. And so that that's kind of one instance where you would see that label being used. And so if you encounter, for instance, you're searching online and you want a certain kind of music for the documentary that you're making at the moment, it's got a little bit of a land piece in and you think, oh, indigenous music would be perfect for my documentary. And you kind of go to the Smithsonian, Sony and you start searching the Global Sound Archive and you come across this. This particular song. And to get off this would be perfect for my my documentary. And it's got a little label and it's got maybe it's got two labels got attribution label and it's got a seasonal label. So automatically you, as a son, as a documentary filmmaker, are given enormous more like are given. Significantly more information about what that item is that's in the archive. So you kind of look at icons and go, OK. That's a bit weird. I've never seen those before. What is that? Then you find out that this song that you thought you were gonna use in this documentary is actually a very important song for a community and should only be heard after the first snow. And it kind of makes you start thinking, what am I listening to? And is actually this appropriate for my documentary? And should I be using this particular piece of information or this particular song? And then you kind of see that there's also an attribution label there and you're given direct access to the community through this attribution label, because the attribution label encourages people to contact the community if they're going to use that material. And so you go, well, I'm not really sure if I should be using this material that seasonal. But look, here's this attribution label. I can directly contact this community and have a conversation with them about it. And so already the this scope of engagement and relationship possibilities are changed. And you might go, OK, I'm going to I'm gonna call the office who's whoever I'm being directed to call and just have a chat about what I'm doing. And that office might say, well, we'd really would prefer you didn't use that material. It doesn't have our consent or our permission. But we sound we like the sound of this project and we'd love to give you something with our present day consent. And so already then you've changed the kind of the work itself and and your engagement and the those kinds of questions of ethics and use of the archive and what that can mean in a substantive way. So that's kind of how the labels get used. And so communities apply them to their collections. We work with institutions to create the workflows that allow for the implementation of those labels. We also work with the communities to develop and adapt those labels. And it's an enormous amount of work to do both of those things and to kind of radically change how the record is remembered and what that means. But I think what's also very important about this project is that it gets indigenous people to the table to negotiate how their materials should be used in ways that they've never had. There's never been a sense that this material shouldn't be used in certain ways. So there's never even been a sense that indigenous people have a right to comment on that. And this project changes that. It allows for a different kind of dialog. And so, you know, if you think that for over twenty nine years, since 1990, institutions in this country have had to grapple with the Native American Graves Repatriation and Protection Act, which has meant that they have had to deal with the collections that they hold and the conditions under which they got those collections. And this project kind of adds to that already existing reflection of the conditions of collection and the conditions of making these collections and extends them in a way that seeks to facilitate better relationships. And so in that sense, it's really not a legal intervention, but it is. It points to some of the problems directly in terms of how this material is being categorized and authored by certain people to the exclusion of others. And so it kind of prompts a question about that. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:30:03] I was thinking about or thing about enforcement when I was early in the paper. And I was thinking, well, if there's if these things are outside the scope of copy-, I was thiking about enforcement through a copyright lens, right, they are outside the scope of copyright. And so you have these sort of indications, what are they really worth? But then I started thinking about other cultural heritages that I don't share, but I'm familiar with because I live in the United States. Right. So I think about even just like the the Christian cultural traditions. Right. That is not my cultural tradition, but I am sensitive to it because I grew up in the United States and I was thinking, okay, if I walked into an old cathedral with a bunch of works that are on a public domain, I might be able to take pictures there are able to do all sorts of things. And there's a there's a class of things that I would be able to do legally, but I would, at a minimum, have a cultural awareness that they might not be appropriate or they might be transgressive. And I might decide I don't care. I might decide to work. You know, there's a reason I'm going to transgress it be maybe simply as flip as I don't care. Maybe it's well, I'm doing it for a purpose and I can rationalize it, but at least I'm able internally to go through that process. And it feels like one of the things that these labels do is when I interact with something that I don't already have that built in cultural awareness for, I at least get the opportunity to confront the cultural expectations. It doesn't mean I have to comply with them, but at least I have that chance to think about it a little bit. 

 

Jane Anderson [00:31:31] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And we actually are working from a space where almost like people just have no idea. There has never been taught properly. People don't even think about it. People don't even think that what they looking at. Museums was taken under duress and extreme forms of violence. So, you know, we've got a lot of work to do. But I think it changes if you're actually given the capacity to make a different kind of decision as opposed to just assuming a certain kind of normative city of a ratio and also something very. Potentially positive around making visible present day indigenous communities today. And a lot of, you know, certainly a lot of my students like I didn't know. Yeah, it's like. Yeah. But then it's partly because so much of what the museum archive library work has been, it's been to represent indigenous peoples, but through settler colonial lens. Right. Not through not not through how indigenous people would have chosen to represent themselves if they knew what was going to happen to all of this material and were actually part of informed decision making. And so this question of present day consent and what that looks like and as well as confronting these historical legacies of collecting as a form of colonialism and the very making of these museums full of indigenous material and what that meant within this kind of social Darwinist logic of of demise of indigenous people on the presumptions of that and the making of disciplines like anthropology. I mean, we're all in this kind of nexus together. And these labels are they're just a tool. They're they're just a means to kind of try and shift the paradigm a little bit. But the uptake by communities and the uptake by institutions who are really wanting to do this work, I think speaks to a certain kind of need. And it speaks to a moment that we're in of trying to come to terms with what has historically been forgotten, but is still really present. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:33:37] Sometimes in some ways it flips the concept of licensing IP very much on its head. Right. Because we were talking about especially copyright licenses or any kind of licenses. The focus is on how do you punish bad actors? How do you get bad actors to come in line? And one of the advantages that we see in this context that this project has is because there's such a low level of awareness you can actually focus on how do we make sure that good actors, people who are inclined to say, I may not be legally obligated to do this, but I have a respect for this culture and I want to do this. How do you make sure those good actors have the information they need to make decisions, knowing they're gonna be bad actors out there and there's nothing you can do about it, but at least you have the opportunity to provide that guidance to what you hope is the majority of people who are in that position. 

 

Jane Anderson [00:34:22] Right. Right. And I think that that's certainly been my experience working in this area, is that once people do become educated and once people start to respect indigenous culture in its own terms and recognize their own kind of limited frameworks for understanding indigenous culture, that there comes with it a different kind of behavior. And yes, we can't do anything about the bad actors. Well, that's just not what we're trying to do here. But we are trying to change the terms and change the terms to recognise, you know, different knowledge systems, the complexity and sophistication of different knowledge systems, that legitimacy of different knowledge systems, and to kind of also be aware of how these collections came to be in the first place. So there's a question of equity and ethics that I think is really interesting if you think about the labels as instituting another form of fair use. Right. Fair use. Being culturally contingent and indigenous people actually starting to talk about what's fair to them. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:35:34] And where these things are out in the wild. People are using these right now. Where is the best? What do you think is the best place? I don't make you choose. Choosing. Choosing among your children. But of all the archives, of all the institutions that have implemented these markings, which ones have done the best? And then my follow up question is, what is the institution that you hope will incorporate them next? What is the next step in the process? 

 

Jane Anderson [00:36:04] So I think the the best example of an institution who has implemented the T.K. labels is the Library of Congress, the American Folklife Center at the Library, Congress. They worked with us and with the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Maine. Around these 1890 sound recordings, the first sound recordings that were ever made in in an indigenous context or in a kind of a field context. And so in that kind of project, not only with those recordings digitally enhanced and returned to the community with kind of no strings attached, but the library Congress kind of opened up themselves to think about how could we convey information about these recordings in ways that incorporate Passamoquoddy perspectives. If you kind of look if you look at the record pre engagement with Passamoquoddy, it's incredibly impoverished. There's hardly any information about those songs. You look at those those recordings now or they're kind of the catalog entry now and we have Passamoquoddy names for the songs. We've got enormous amounts of traditional knowledge and cultural knowledge about those songs. That's come from this partnership and an engagement. And then at the top, it's near the the recordings themselves are the three personal quality labels: an attribution label, an outreach label, which is really that the Passamoquoddy have chosen to share these recordings for educational purposes and to help understanding about the Passamoquoddy and a noncommercial label to say that from a Passamoquoddy standpoint, these recordings should never be used in commercial contexts. And so those three labels together are working to tell you some very specific things about how the Passamoquddy understand that material. So we have that is a very good example. And also what's what's interesting about that example is, you know, where the labels fall into the Dublin core fields and what that looks like. We've got them in the mark record and kind of what that looks like for library people. Are they just kind of different ways of where the the labels are implemented within the digital infrastructures of the library. But importantly, the library also points to Passamoquoddy's own site with these recordings. So in that sense, they're also releasing a little bit of their authority over them as the only place where these recordings can be found. And as the only speakers for this material. And they're not. So the Library of Congress uses the labels and then points to the Passamoquoddy's own digital site with these recordings on them, which are really, really different and assembled in really different ways. And what the Passamoquoddy have been able to do is bring in the recordings and bring in children who are singing the recordings today and bring in the larger kind of archive of the field notes when these recordings were made and or the kind of newspaper articles. And so they've got these really complex digital representation of those recordings embedded into current Passamoquoddy culture and practice. And so that I think is a is a very good example of what the potential of the labels are, because they obviously just a tool in that, but they help facilitate that entire engagement and relationship that led to something that's kind of incredible. We now know those recordings 129 years later in a radically different way, but through Passamoquoddy, not through the person who was there for three days and didn't even know Passamoquoddy and couldn't even speak Passamoquoddy. So that in itself is a is a radical shift in kind of an example of what's possible through this kind of project. And then in terms of thinking about where do we want to see these labels? I mean, we develop them so they can be used internationally. We develop them so that the Passamoquoddy collections in Berlin, Passamoquoddy quite a collections that are in Scott in Stockholm. The Penobscot collections that are in France that those institutions can also use these labels. So our goal is pretty big with that. We know we start small and you know, we we have to deal with the reality that every indigenous community has their collections in perhaps 50 or 80 other institutions. And once they have developed their said. T.K. Labels, they can send them to all of those institutions to start being applied to their collections and in doing that radically change how they are understood, but also see that they're connected temporarily to community today. They're not just lost artifacts of of tribes that no longer exist. They are part of ongoing connection to community practice and and survivors. And I think that's also really important part of what the project to do so does. 

 

Michael Weinberg [00:41:11] Thank you again to Professor Anderson for joining us today. You can find a link to her work, including the traditional context project in the show notes. For more episodes in this series make sure you subscribe to the feed. There is more information about other Engelberg Center activities on our Web site. And you can always keep up to date by signing up for our mailing list and following us on Twitter. This episode is licensed under Creative Commons attribution share alike 4.0 International License. I'm Michael Weinberg. Thanks for listening.